REU in Interdisciplinary Evolutionary Science

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Interdisciplinary Evolutionary Sciences - Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

Program Details

The focus of this REU is training in evolutionary science, with students working on research projects across several disciplines. Three academic departments at the University of Iowa - Biology, Anthropology, and Earth and Environmental Sciences) collaborate with the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History to offer research projects that span a range of topics, including evolution of behavior, origin of species, cancer evolution, evolution of sex, and paleontology. Study organisms span a large range of taxa, and include: crocodiles, insects, snails, fungi, human cancer cells, frogs, and conodonts. Iowa DarwinStudents work on one project, but through interactions with their cohort ultimately receive a broad exposure to evolutionary science. As part of the program, students: receive training in research best practices, participate in career workshops, create a digital exhibit based on their research for the University of Iowa Natural History Museum, and make formal research presentations based on their work. Housing, a meal allowance, stipend ($6,000), and a travel allowance are provided to all participants.

Click here to see the 2019 REU students, their project titles, and reflection videos


    Mentors and Project Areas (click on links to learn more about each mentor and their research programs)

    Image result for crocodile skullDr. Chris Brochu - Evolution and systematics of the Crocodylia


    Image result for drosophila americanaDr. Dan Eberl - Reception of courtship song in dipteran insects 


    erivesDr. Albert Erives - Evolution of Development in the Beetle Antenna


    Image result for saccharomyces cerevisiaeDr. Jan Fassler - Variation in sequence and functions of glutamine rich proteins



    Image result for strauziaDr. Andrew Forbes - Evolution and diversity of parasitic insects



    Image result for human skullDr. Robert Franciscus - Morphology and behavior in fossil humans


    Candida glabrataDr. Bin He - Evolution of gene regulatory networks for stress response


    Image result for wild beeDr. Steve Hendrix - Wild bee community composition in fragmented landscapes


    Image result for virusDr. Drew Kitchen - Emergence and evolutionary rates in viruses



    Image result for meiosisDr. John Logsdon - Molecular evolution of sex and meiosis



    SNAILDr. Maurine Neiman - Evolution of sex in nature



    Image result for tumor cellDr. Christopher Stipp - Evolution of tumor heterogeneity



    Participants should:

    • be US citizens or permanent residents enrolled at US Universities
    • be majoring in a STEM field (especially Biology, Anthropology, or Geoscience with a Paleontology emphasis)
    • be available to attend the entirety of the program (May 24th - July 30th, 2021)
    • have a GPA of 3.0 or above.
    • have a strong background in science coursework. Coursework that connects directly to topics in evolution will be favored. 
    • have a strong work ethic and motivation to learn
    • have an interest in pursuing a career in scientific research
    • identify two or more potential research mentors from the list above.
    • Students from underrepresented minority groups and/or who have limited research opportunities at their home institution are especially encouraged to apply

    Click here to watch videos of the 2019 REU cohort talking about their research experiences!

    INTERESTED? APPLY HERE! (deadline: Feb 1st, 2021)

    Questions? Contact Andrew Forbes ( or Maurine Neiman (

    Funded by the National Science Foundation - Grant #15248700